Stalled by Scandal, Rail Reform Back on Track | CHINA US Focus

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Stalled by Scandal, Rail Reform Back on Track

By Yu Ning, Gu Yongqiang and Wang Chen
June 13, 2012
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(Beijing) – The Communist Party recently expelled former railways chief Liu Zhijun for disciplinary violations and handed the case to judicial authorities for a criminal trial.

The progress for Liu's prosecutors parallels efforts to speed up financial and operation reforms at the Ministry of Railways, which runs the nation's network of passenger and freight lines, track construction companies and train manufacturing.

As part of the long-anticipated reform effort, the central government in May announced plans to open the rail system to private investors, decentralize the contract bidding process and increase rates for freight customers.

Contractors welcomed the change in the bidding system which, according to representatives from several railway suppliers, was easily manipulated in the old days before Liu's corruption was exposed.

"Before Liu Zhijun was ousted," said one contractor, "basically all the tender results were artificially manipulated."

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